May 30, 2017 3:54 pm
Updated: May 30, 2017 3:57 pm

Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown says he didn’t know of Jack MacLaren’s plan

Jack MacLaren is seen in this undated handout photo.

TORONTO – Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown says he didn’t know former caucus member Jack MacLaren had been planning to join a fringe party.

Brown kicked MacLaren out of the caucus on Sunday, citing a 2012 video that showed him hinting at a hidden party agenda and making negative comments about French language rights.

READ MORE: Ontario MPP Jack MacLaren questions official reason for his removal from PC caucus

But MacLaren says the party had known about the video for years and suggests the real reason for his expulsion was that Brown found out he had joined the Trillium party on Friday.

Brown, who became party leader in 2015, says regardless of whether the previous regime knew about the video, he did not know about it until this past weekend.

WATCH: The Ontario PC Party dealt with a controversial member and attacked the Liberals over tourism spending. Alan Carter has more.

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Brown says there had been rumours for about two years that MacLaren was going to form his own party, but he didn’t know anything about MacLaren’s plans to join the Trillium party before he fired him.

READ MORE: Jack MacLaren booted from PC caucus over controversial video

In kicking MacLaren out of caucus, Brown said the video was the final straw with a politician who had previously come under fire for vulgar remarks about a female MP, having fake testimonials on his website, and saying a zero tolerance policy for the sexual abuse of patients is dangerous.

READ MORE: PC MPP Jack MacLaren apologizes for questioning zero-tolerance of sex abuse of patients

MacLaren, who represented the eastern Ontario riding of Carleton-Mississippi Mills, took his seat in the legislature this week as an independent, since the Trillium party doesn’t have official party status.

MacLaren was the lone vote Tuesday against both a bill to implement photo radar in school zones and to strengthen a zero tolerance policy on the sexual abuse of patients.

© 2017 The Canadian Press

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